Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lloyd-Jones on where the Church starts

A portion which i thought would be helpful from a conference address by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
I believe such advice would serve us all, regarding all the 'movements' today. Call yourself "Reformed" "New Calvinist" "New Covenant" "Missional" and whatever special names you can think of, the bottom line comes to this, 'but are you biblical?'.

So I come to the last question which seems to me to be raised, and I think it is the most acute question of all. God forbid that this last question should ever cause a division amongst us who are evangelical, but it does seem to me that this story of the ‘ecclesiola in ecclesia’ raises this great question. It was there at the beginning with Luther; it is still here. Should we start with the situation and the position as it is and try to reform it, or should we start with the New Testament and apply it? It comes to that! The Reformers began with the situation as they found it, and as we have been reminded several times in the conference, their policy was to reform it. If their premise was right I think their procedure can be justified. You must then be patient and diplomatic and so on.
But the great question I am raising is this — were they right in that original question? Where do you start? Do you start with the existing situation and try by adjustment and accommodation and meetings and fellowship and readiness to give and take for the sake of the body that is already there, to get the best modifications you can? Is it that? History seems to show that, if you do start with that, you will soon be having to think of starting an ‘ecclesiola in ecclesia’ because of the dead wood in the church. That seems to me to be the argument of history. Do you start with that then?
Or do you rather start by asking ‘What is the New Testament teaching?’ Let us start with that. Our one object and endeavour should be to put that into practice, cost what it may, believing that as we are trying to conform to the New Testament pattern we shall be blessed of God. It is a difficult, it is a perplexing, it is a vexing question. As I have tried to remind you, in all fairness, the Reformers were concerned to bring back the New Testament idea; but they failed. There was this kind of polarity in their thinking and they kept on swinging between two basic ideas. That is why I am raising this as the ultimate and fundamental question.
This is the question that remains with us, and the ecumenical movement, it seems to me, has made it a more urgent question than it has been for several centuries. The leaders of that movement are saying, let us throw everything into the melting-pot. They are not actually doing that because they are committed to the principle of modification and accommodation. But they are saying it. Well, let us say it! Let us say that we are living in a situation where we really must and can face these things in a new and fundamental manner. Let us determine to do so in the light of the New Testament teaching and not in the light of ‘the scientific man of the mid-twentieth century’ or in the light of ‘the results of scholarship and of latest knowledge’. It is a profound, it is a fundamental question, and I believe that every one of us will not only have to face it but also have to decide one way or the other, and that very soon. May God keep us all humble, may He give us great charity, give us great patience, but above all may He give us a single eye to His glory and to His praise.

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